As anyone who has been reading this site for sometime knows, I’m a big fan of McLuhan, especially his thinking around the message of media. I think Jonah Peretti from BuzzFeed nails McLuhan’s point in this DigiDay interview:
The biggest difference is in a Facebook world, it’s more your reaction to content and how you interact with your friends around content than the informational value of the content. It still matters, but it’s on equal footing with the social story that unfolds around the content. It might be that a piece of content is about how Barack Obama is ahead of the polls. People on Facebook and Twitter who like Obama have a vested interest in sharing that media. People who hate Obama have an interest in hating it. Those interactions allow the content to become more important. If you’re a publisher who wants your content to spread on Facebook, you have to think of the network and not the individual.
The content matters, sure, but the reaction and other aspects of the medium it’s being shared on is at least equally important. That’s what McLuhan was getting at. Also fromt he same interview, Peretti has an interesting perspective on digital brand marketing: “Brands will put all their eggs in one basket. They’ll have one epic interactive experience at one URL. What we’ve seen is that if they think of it more like a publisher launching lots of articles, they have a lot more chance of having things take off.”